This Sonos Play 1 review will answer all your questions about the Sonos Play 1. Out of all the Sonos multi-room line-up, The Sonos Play 1 — at just $189 — is the most affordable speaker and worth considering, whether you want a full multi-room setup or just a single wireless speaker. Moreover, it is also among the most powerful speakers as well with an awesome rich sound from a small box that you can put on your nightstand or on a bookshelf.

The Full Sonos Play: 1 Review

Design

The Sonos Play 1 wireless speaker is unlike the other small wireless speakers of its kind. It is not portable, doesn’t use Bluetooth, and cannot use a 3.5mm plug for a non-wireless source. Not only is this speaker the most accessible of all other Sonos speakers, but it is also the smallest, the best looking, and the least expensive, not to mention it is very well made.

The sides of this newer Sonos speaker version have a single piece of metal grille covering them that smoothly curves around the edges and although the top and bottom of the device are made of plastic, they still look fantastic. Measurements include; 16cm tall with a 12cm rounded-off square base.

sonos play 1 top
Photo credit: WhatHiFi

Another important thing to add to this Sonos Play 1 review is there are many different types of stands available for the Sonos Play 1 that attach to the back of the device.

Considering hardware, this is an amazingly simple speaker with an Ethernet socket in the back and a play/pause button and volume rocker on top. It also contains a wall-mounting socket and a power jack.

Setup

In the past with the older Sonos systems, you had to purchase a separate bridge to connect them to your Wi-Fi, but now the newer speakers are much more like standard wireless speakers. When you first fire up the Android or iOS app on your mobile phone or tablet device, It will almost immediately recognize the speaker. Once it does, you simply choose your home Wi-Fi network and then type in your password and you’re all set. Should your app have problems locating the Play 1 or if your device runs old firmware, then try using the provided Ethernet cable to plug into your router instead. Setup only takes a few minutes and you are good to go!

If you don’t already know, here’s how the speaker system works: The music to be played is sent to the Sonos Play 1 using its own Wi-Fi system software and not streamed by using Bluetooth or Airplay. This system can be accessed on your computer or through an Android or iOS device streaming service, such as Deezer, Spotify, and Amazon Music.

sonos play 1 back
Photo credit: WhatHiFi

Interface and App

Sonos is no longer as closed-off as it was before 2016 when your music selection had to go through the Sonos app. Although the Sonos app is well-made with great features, some people find it annoying. Now, those who use Spotify can stream right from the Spotify app just as you would if using a Bluetooth speaker. There are many other music services supported by Sonos Play 1 including Amazon Music, Apple Music, Google Play Music, Tidal, Deezer, 7Digital, Napster, and more.

However, not many podcast apps are supported, but podcast fans can listen to podcasts through TuneIn Radio, one of the most popular radio apps online and it is preinstalled in the Sonos app.

While there is no snooze button, you can still set alarms with the app; just make sure you get up the first time. Another key feature of the Play 1 is its Sonos surround sound system with a surround sound speaker. You can pair two speakers together with a Sonos Playbar and for full effects add a Sonos SUB. However, a full 5.1 system setup can set you back $1800 or more.

Another thing I would like to add to this Sonos Play 1 review is that there is one very important feature missing from the Sonos Play 1, a full-array microphone. More and more new speaker systems that integrate with Alexa or Google Assistant are following the same path and leaving the microphone functioning out of the upgraded designs.

Sound Quality

By itself, the Sonos Play 1 is an awesome small speaker that offers top sound quality for such a small inexpensive wireless speaker. Like traditional bookshelf speakers, each of the Sonos Play 1 speakers has two drivers: a small tweeter and a mid-range/bass driver, but the magnet in its main driver is stronger than average allowing the speaker cone to move forward and back further than usual. This helps give the Play 1 an excellent, rich, clear sound for its size.

Voicing is average, but the scale and depth of the bass put out by this speaker is very impressive. It has enough punch, finesse, and rich tone to make you forget you are listening to such a small speaker. With the exceptional sound quality at higher volumes, its no wonder that many music lovers use the Sonos Play 1 as their main music source.

Although the treble is a bit shy of the piercing clarity that comes from a dedicated tweeter, increasing the volume increases the sound scales much better and how much can you expect from such a small speaker with so much going for it already? You would think a speaker of its size would have made more than a light treble compromise.

sonos play 1-1
Photo credit: WhatHiFi

Sonos Play 1 Review Conclusion

You can’t deny that the Sonos Play 1 is a great sounding little speaker and the most accessible Sonos speaker at a price that just can’t be beaten. It works just as well as any other Sonos Play series speaker, if not better and offers all of the same streaming features as well.

Let’s review what we have learned about this small speaker in this Sonos Play 1 review:

  • This wireless speaker is unlike other small wireless speakers
  • It is not portable
  • No Bluetooth and cannot use a 3.5mm plug for a non-wireless source
  • Supports many streaming services, such as Amazon Music, Apple Music, Google Play Music, Tidal, Deezer, etc
  • Setup only takes a few minutes
  • Podcast fans can listen to podcasts through TuneIn Radio one of the most popular radio apps online and it is preinstalled in the Sonos app
  • You can use it to set alarms
  • You can pair two speakers together with a Sonos Playbar and for full effects add a Sonos Sub
  • Offers top sound quality for such a small inexpensive wireless speaker
  • The scale and depth of the bass put out by this speaker is very impressive

It is important to note that the Sonos Play: 1 was discontinued by Sonos and replaced with the Sonos One and One SL speakers.

Recommendation: Given this product was discontinued and the lack of compatibility with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, I wouldn’t recommend this product unless you’re fully outfitted with Sonos products.

Buying the Sonos Play 1

Editors’ Recommendations

Did you enjoy our Sonos Play 1 review? If so, read some of our other reviews to learn how to turn your home into a smart home. 

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